The lights were on in the reading room/den. Currently, there was only a chair in the room. The two couches were gone, just like all the other damaged or destroyed items in the house. David and Alex were out getting replacement items. Hema was fixing what she could. Cassandra and the boy were sitting in the lone chair.

“I wanted to talk to you about earlier,” Cassandra said. The boy cowered as much as he could in the chair. “Do you understand why your behavior was causing a problem earlier?”

The boy shook his head.

“It was time for dinner. I needed to get up and go. Your behavior was preventing that from happening. Do you understand that?”

The boy nodded.

“Taking my hand to go inside was the correct thing to do.”

Cassandra sighed.

“You needed to let me get up to go and eat. If you wanted to follow, you could have done that. If you wanted to hold my hand, like we did to go inside, you could have spoken up about that.”

The boy tried to hide even more.

“I was not mad at you. You did very well sitting at the table with David and me.”

The boy looked at Cassandra. Cassandra smiled.

“Do you know what the word,’clingy’, means?”

The boy nodded.

“That is what your behavior seems to be now. Are you worried that I will leave you? Do you currently believe that if you let me out of you sight that I will disappear?”

The boy nodded.

Cassandra reached out to the boy. She pulled him into her lap. He was facing her, his head down and his shoulders hunched over.

Cassandra brushed his hair. She tipped her head down until it touched his.

Cassandra reached down and slid her hand under his chin. She lifted the boy’s chin up. He was still struggling to look down.

“I do not plan to disappear; I do not want to disappear.”

The boy looked up.

“Do you know someone who disappeared?”

The boy nodded.

“I do not think that person disappeared because of you. Things happen through no fault of our own. It does not mean that we did anything wrong.”

The boy threw his arms around her neck.